1) Yoga improves your range of motion and general mobility
– Yoga can reinforce external rotation of the hip and shoulders and in CrossFit this is crucial when doing any of the basic movements or Olympic Lifts. All the PVC work done to stretch out before a WOD can be facilitated by working range of motion in yoga.
2) Yoga helps you focus
– In CrossFit trying to complete 50-100 reps of a movement takes determination and focus. In yoga we call that “drishti” which is a point of gaze or focus. Focusing on one single point while you are moving will help with balance in yoga and in CrossFit it can help with double unders, box jumps and other exercises requiring focus.
3) Yoga teaches you how to breathe more efficiently
– In Ashtanga yoga I teach “Ujjayi” breath which is breathing in and out through your nose, controlling your breath as it speeds up and slows down. Yoga means union and in Ashtanga yoga we focus on the union between breath and movement. Linking those together is the key when it comes to mastering your yoga practice. Yoga helps with breathing deeply and filling the diaphragm and that correlates to being able to control your breath during an AMRAP or a workout for time.
4) Yoga develops your ability to balance
– Balance is needed in CrossFit and is emphasized in a lot of the movements. Balancing poses in yoga such as Tree, Warrior 3 or Dancer can help you achieve that balance to perform a pistol squat or to do handstand pushup or any other movement requiring balance. Balancing in yoga can lead to balancing off your mat and in your life. I had a mentor once tell me that “If you can balance in Tree pose, then you have a balanced life.”
5) Yoga keeps you fit
– In yoga we build long lean muscles and work on opening up the shoulders to work on posture and stabilization of the back. Pairing that with CrossFit is the perfect fit because you are strengthening and elongating the muscles at the same time.
6) Yoga gives you time to relax
– Who can say that they take time to relax and be still at all during the day, other than sleeping? At the end of each yoga class you are able to do so, just to relax and let your body be still, not having to worry about anything but being calm and still. CrossFit is all about high intensity movements and so give your body a break by coming and relaxing with us.
7) Yoga reinforces good positioning
– In yoga you become very aware of your body and how it feels and where you feel tension or tightness. This is great because you feel where your body should be and what good alignment feels like. Twisting and working on keeping a flat back will help with spinal alignment and that plays directly into CrossFit and keeping good form all the way through a WOD.
8) Yoga can be a legitimate workout
– A lot of people ask me are we just going to stretch in your class? I tell them yes we stretch but that is not all, I tell them to come see my class and they can tell me if we just “stretch”. I love getting CrossFitters in my class and they think we are just going to “stretch” and hold hands and sing in a circle and halfway through warm up they are sweating like crazy and barely holding down dog. Yes yoga is a workout, but unlike completing a Hero WOD or Girls WOD where you feel like you are going to throw up or can’t move, you will leave feeling refreshed and energized.
9) Yoga builds community
– CrossFit is huge on community and so is yoga. Anytime there is a group with a common goal, whether it is CrossFit, Yoga or snorkeling, those people will be drawn to one another. Yoga means union and just like the union between breath and movement it is also the union between people and their practices.
10) Yoga is fun!
– Yoga is not some serious no laughing, no talking kind of deal. Come to my class and you will see that we have a lot of fun getting into creative poses, laughing and joking around and working into all those sore spots from doing Fran on Monday. Yoga is for everyone and so whether you can’t touch your toes or you can fold like a pretzel, everyone is always welcome to yoga.